Letters for June 4, 2015

Encouraging veterans

Re “Vets helping vets” (Cover story sidebar, by Tom Gascoyne, May 28):

Being project manager for the Veterans’ Garden Project (VGP), located in the BEC Humboldt Community Garden, has been an eye-opener for me. Having a brother who survived Vietnam and not speaking of it for over 30 years, then hearing some of his stories, I am amazed at how well his life turned out. But not so for many other veterans.

I want to encourage veterans to come out to the group recently formed by a Yuba City clinic veteran, Ray Pursley. He collaborated with the Chico VA Behavioral Health Clinic and started a group called Get Out of the House. This group meets every Thursday and our organization (VGP) has jumped in to organize activities like gardening, bocce, golf and barbecues.

Some members of the group had been homeless at one time, others merely socially isolated. When they get together, whatever arm of the military they served, it is like running into an old friend. It is heartwarming to listen to, and gratifying to be a part of, their healing process. Of course, our main goal is to get more veterans involved in the gardening experience, and there have been great strides in healing many through this.

For more information, contact Michelle Angela 588-2465 or veteransgardenproject@gmail.com.

Rosemary Febbo

Whose friends are they?

Re “Disc-ology” (Newslines, by Howard Hardee, May 28):

Woody Elliott isn’t really a member of Friends of Bidwell Park because the group is not a membership organization, according to its website. It is just seven board members made up of environmental consultants and their friends. They have no ‘likes’ on Facebook.

They obtain access to Bidwell Park for members of their board to pursue little projects of their own, and work to shut out other groups. City Park and Natural Resources Manager Dan Efseaff’s previous job as an environmental consultant existed because of the work of Friends President John Merz. These people have been working to reduce the recreation aspect of Bidwell Park, and would like to see it as an ecological reserve for which they have the keys to the locked gate for their personal use, while the rest of us fund various duplicative studies to keep them occupied.

I suspect they would like to add Bidwell Ranch to the park in order justify even more expensive studies, while leaving the property locked up and accessible only by guided tours—led by them. It’s really a generational battle. Baby boomer Friends working tirelessly to reduce fun for millennial and Gen-X disc-golfers, mountain-bikers and swimming-hole devotees. Annie Bidwell would be appalled.

Michael Jones

‘Still spinning’

Re “The downside to unearned fortunes” (Guest comment, by Nathan Esplanade, May 28):

My head is still spinning days after reading Nathan Esplanade’s guest comment. The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935, for the very purpose of providing financial security for those very same “ordinary Americans” (according to Esplanade) whose liberty, wealth and security is being threatened by Social Security!

Esplanade lumps Social Security benefits into the same category as “unearned fortunes” and “abuses” such as spouses who kill to receive life insurance pay-outs. I earned every penny I paid into the Social Security system over 40 years in the workforce and the pittance I now receive barely covers my monthly expenses, let along allows me to roll in “unearned” wealth.

Patricia Kelley

Counterpoint bull’s-eye

Re “In defense of militarization” (Letters, by Allan Clark, May 28):

Mr. Clark, sir, I must say you are correct about the rarity of harmful usage and the fallacy of grenade launchers. I intended to write about Marine veteran Scott Olsen, who was at a peaceful protest during Occupy Oakland when he was shot in the head by a police projectile. I thought it had been fired through a grenade launcher, but it was only a pellet bag fired through a shotgun barrel and it was the protesters trying to rescue him who dealt with a flash-bang grenade, which may have simply been hand tossed, not launched. My mistake; I got my facts twisted, but it’s a pity that a combat vet remained relatively unscathed through two Iraq tours, only to have his skull fractured at home.

It might be wise to mention that there appear to be more restrictions on these weapons in military engagement than there are here at home. But you’re right, Mr. Clark, why should we worry when police are doing a fine job of harming unarmed civilians with standard issue firearms and chokeholds?

Lee Jackal

Response, part two

Re “The point actually was” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, May 21)

Patrick Newman believes that gluttonous consumption is made possible by the exploitation of people, animals and ecosystems. I agree. But what really is at the root of this phenomenon? My assertion has been that human “value systems” have been cultivated by the patriarchal-influenced societies that created them.

These patriarchal “value systems” have assured men for many centuries that they are the superior sex and the masters of their domain, which apparently means the planet and all life on it, including women. From ancient times, women have been associated with either evil temptresses who must be subdued and controlled, or the mythical Eve, who facilitated to the fall of man. Not great reputations to bear.

Misogyny is the oldest and most pervasive prejudice known to mankind. Its effects still deeply permeate the very foundations of human societies. Because women have always been equated with “Mother” nature, this prejudice carries over in how patriarchal societies view the planet as just another thing to dominate and exploit. I believe it is patriarchy that has led to the “ruthless exploitation of people, animals and ecosystems,” perpetrated to appease humanity’s unquenchable desire to often mindlessly consume and waste, ravaging the planet for future generations.

Sherri Quammen

Another birthday wish

Re “Happy b-day, Medicare” (Letters, by Tom Reed, May 28):

In July, our country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare. As Tom Reed said in his letter, before the passage of Medicare, a third of older Americans fell below the poverty line and now it’s just 10 percent. Besides Medicare, I am very pleased that Obamacare was enacted. With the exception of the enactment of Medicare 50 years ago, President Obama did more to get health care access to Americans than any of his predecessors.

Nevertheless, this is not enough. Medicare needs to be improved and extended to all Americans, and must include dental, vision, medicines and the encouragement of such alternatives as chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathic care. Those alternative treatments are often more effective than traditional care, and they are far less expensive.

We also need a system in which doctors strongly encourage their patients to take better care of themselves, like having proper diets, exercising, and not smoking and drinking. All of this must be part of the package. It does absolutely no good for doctors to treat those patients who do very little or nothing to take better care of themselves after they leave the doctor’s office.

Walter Ballin

Can you say bribe?

Why did FIFA officials choose Qatar for 2022 World Cup soccer?

Temperatures of 120 degrees in the summer. Can players from all over the world survive in these conditions? Sepp Blatter, current president of FIFA, suggests the World Cup move to November. But that disrupts every league in Europe and throughout the world. League games are usually played between September and May.

And again, why Qatar, where crowds will be subject to the country’s Qatari (Sharia) law? Can you imagine soccer crowds restricting themselves? Can we expect women to dress “modestly” in 120 degree heat? “Qatar does not permit dressing in a revealing or provocative manner, including wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts.” And let’s not forget that those who drink or use foul language are subject to “zero tolerance.” To drink, you need a permit. For a permit, you need “a letter from your employer, stating your position, basic pay, occupation, religious affiliation, marital status, etc.” No intimacy between men and women; imprisonment and lengthy court trials. And no homosexuality; it’s illegal, and violators may be subjected to lashings. Wow!

And FIFA has chosen Qatar to host the 2022 soccer World Cup?! How do you spell huge bribe?

Lynn H. Elliott

‘Old tech, new application’

Watching Mad Max at the Pageant Theatre the other night, I saw in at least two scenes water-catchment systems connected to roof gutters. Old tech, new application for California?

Nelson Kaiser

Blame leadership

Re “Prop. 13’s unfair legacy” (Editorial, May 21):

I was most disappointed in your blaming Proposition 13 for a financial situation that is actually rooted in failure of leadership, especially in light of Prop. 13 being one of a precious few defenses taxpayers have against failures of leadership. The idea that government cannot raise funds is preposterous. Not a single year has passed that my property tax bill was not greater than the year before.

Our leaders have no problem finding $500,000 to hire new employees to reduce the largest economic industry in Butte County: [marijuana cultivation]. Where was the foresight of our leaders when a $40 million budget was granted to the Sheriff’s Office and nothing was saved for future expansion, and helicopters fly daily for code enforcement. You enable them when you echo the sorry excuse of fairness. Yes, expansion does not increase crime rates, but a rate is a percentage. The same percentage of a larger population means more criminals needing services. Failure of leadership notwithstanding, new development should bare the lion’s share of new expenses. Fairness, foresight, benefiting the whole? No. Shirking from difficult duties and pandering to wealthy supporters, more likely.

Daniel Haren

Digressions all around

Re “The bros among us” (Cover story, by Howard Hardee, May 7):

I can see how Mr. Hardee has opened a Pandora’s Box of self-rhetorical, over-evaluated expanded replies (more holes in them than Sonny Corleone’s vehicle at the toll booth) in response to his article. Rites of transition are part of dealing with the challenge and mystery of life universally: thrilled by secret initiation to ancient rituals from Webelo Cub Scout to pinky amputation Yakuza—but I digress, as the replies do, from a well-composed story about frat life at Chico State; growing-up in today’s American college culture.

Who’s to blame, how could this happen, what should I do (even nonaction is, nevertheless, an action)? Hobbies are a nice alternative—so are crosswords (no pun intended). Stamp collecting might not be PC enough. How about a nice pet goldfish—someone who will really understand me in a fishbowl forum (pun intended)? And for those of us with more contemplative time on their hands, how about solving a riddle of the sphinx, another classic ageless pastime adventure: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Answer: I don’t know, but the chicken can be eaten before it’s born or after it’s dead.

Bon appetite, brothers and sisters! Chicken omelets, anyone?

Rick Vagts

Parents know best

Re “Sparring over the syringe” (Cover story, by Allan Stellar, April 30):

This story was interesting, but totally one-sided. Regardless of the author’s opinion (obviously pro all the way), however, the larger issue is that it is one more of our parental rights being taken away. Also, as even the author had to admit, most of the “vaccine resistors” are college-educated.

We have a right to do with our children as we see fit, so long as it isn’t harming others. If vaccines are so great and effective, people shouldn’t have anything to fear from those who aren’t vaccinated. Besides, who funds these studies that claim vaccines are so safe—the companies who make them? I’m sure there’s no bias there. And the FDA says it’s up to the company to make sure they’re safe.

You should find someone else to write an equally-well written piece on why there are many reasons to question vaccine efficacy and safety. It’s not as black and white as the author makes it seem.

Julie Celeri

More Dunbaughs, please

With so many graduation ceremonies, I can’t help but wonder what the graduates think when politicians, agencies or police are in headlines for corruption, bribes, racketeering, lying. The San Francisco legislators who are under indictments for corruption were graduation speakers not long ago.

FIFA, the organization that runs professional soccer, just had the majority of its leaders arrested, and players say it was well known for years but no one could stop it. At a local level, grand juries repeatedly tell the community that various city agencies are inculcated with major internal misconduct and mismanagement. Should we really be surprised anymore?

That is why we should be thankful that there are people like Mike Dunbaugh, who returned to Chico P.D. and is a rare individual who was willing to identify problems, acknowledge internal issues, and make real changes. That created a whole lot more confidence than the constant denials that most agencies do. Compare with Chico Unified School District that has been dogged by corruption rumors for years and yet its leaders act like the Titanic crew, “We’re not sinking, look at the pretty flowers instead!”

My message to graduates? Ignore the speeches. Our world needs more Dunbaughs. Be one. Simple.

Deline Berka

Concerned about chem trails

California residents may notice that the formerly deep blue skies we used to enjoy are now becoming a hazy blue. This is due to an illicit weather modification program, wherein suspicious aircraft leave multiple white trails that people mistake for passenger jet exhaust. We know that these are not normal jet exhaust, because passenger jet trails last only a few minutes before dissipating.

Conversely, “chem trails” persist a long time and consist of toxic nano-particulate metals that slowly spread out into a haze. These chemical trails serve another purpose, besides reflecting solar radiation back into space. They also assist in use of directed energy “pulses” for manipulation of the jet stream.

Yet another unpublicized side effect of weather modification is the dissipation of rain clouds. Ostensibly, the excuse given by some scientists is given as “management of solar radiation” (to assist in global cooling).

Much of the freak weather we have seen, even nationally, is not driven just by CO2-caused global warming, but is exacerbated by chem trail spraying. Since clandestine, those behind this are only vaguely known (see research paper “Owning the weather in 2025” online). Please take time to look into what’s happening. We all should be concerned about this.

John Lorenz